While China is catching up with France in terms of nuclear reactors, it seems to pursue alternative energy sources with a similar enthusiasm. Beside wind farms in Inner Mongolia, solar power is getting into the mainstream – according to the World Bank, most water heaters in China are solar thermal heaters and China is said to already produce more than 60% of the world’s solar cells (with plans to expand abroad).
Beijing is using a typical mix of incentives to gain critical mass: governments at all levels are offering solar panel producing firms subsidies - free land, R&D grants – while bank offer very attractive loans.
Unfortunately the battle for an eco-frienly environment is is far from won: the objective to grow the installed capacity from 2GW to 20GW (the equivalent of 20 nuclear reactors…) of solar energy by 2020 is less than half the capacity of coal-fired power plants built annually.
P.S.: China Mobile established the world’s largest solar energy-powered base station cluster in Tibet